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UBC's low tuition fee

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How does UBC get to maintain it's standard of legal education while competing with Canadian law schools that charge 3-4 times the tution?

What programs and benefits(compared to say UofT and Osgoode) does UBC cut back on in order to provide a legal education at a low cost?

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There's a legislated cap on tuition increases in BC universities. I believe it's about 2% a year. This is the only reason UBC tuition remains low: if the cap were to be removed tomorrow the law school wouldn't hesitate to raise tuition substantially. 

The big secret is there is no sacrifice in education. UBC is a great school despite charging around 1/3 in tuition of the bigger law schools in Ontario (Osgoode, U of T).  We can endlessly debate the nuances of how you measure the "quality" of a legal education, but I'm confident in saying UBC would place quite high in any objective measurement (though perhaps I'm biased as a current UBC student 😉). 

I am not an expert in the economics of higher education, however, my impression is that law schools are actually quite inexpensive to administer. Beyond professor and administrator salaries, there really aren't a whole lot of fixed costs to running a law school (unlike other professional programs like, say, medicine or dentistry, where educating students requires expensive labs and other equipment in addition to professors and administrators). 

I think high tuition costs for law school are primarily driven by universities understanding that the willingness to pay of potential law students will always be quite high because the schools can simply point to high starting salaries in Big Law as justification for increasingly high tuition. However, the reality is that many law school graduates don't end up making Big Law salaries, and many graduates are left saddled with substantial debt.

Students should be a lot more critical about universities justifying increasingly high law school tuition. UBC, UVic, McGill, U of C, U Sask, U of A, and UNB are all similarly-priced schools that provide great law programs. They are proof that students don't need to sell their firstborn child to get a proper legal education. 

Edited by Hesse
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29 minutes ago, Hesse said:

There's a legislated cap on tuition increases in BC universities. I believe it's about 2% a year. This is the only reason UBC tuition remains low: if the cap were to be removed tomorrow the law school wouldn't hesitate to raise tuition substantially. 

The big secret is there is no sacrifice in education. UBC is a great school despite charging around 1/3 in tuition of the bigger law schools in Ontario (Osgoode, U of T).  We can endlessly debate the nuances of how you measure the "quality" of a legal education, but I'm confident in saying UBC would place quite high in any objective measurement (though perhaps I'm biased as a current UBC student 😉). 

I am not an expert in the economics of higher education, however, my impression is that law schools are actually quite inexpensive to administer. Beyond professor and administrator salaries, there really aren't a whole lot of fixed costs to running a law school (unlike other professional programs like, say, medicine or dentistry, where educating students requires expensive labs and other equipment in addition to professors and administrators). 

I think high tuition costs for law school are primarily driven by universities understanding that the willingness to pay of potential law students will always be quite high because the schools can simply point to high starting salaries in Big Law as justification for increasingly high tuition. However, the reality is that many law school graduates don't end up making Big Law salaries, and many graduates are left saddled with substantial debt.

Students should be a lot more critical about universities justifying increasingly high law school tuition. UBC, UVic, McGill, U of C, U Sask, U of A, and UNB are all similarly-priced schools that provide great law programs. They are proof that students don't need to sell their firstborn child to get a proper legal education. 

Thanks for the reposnse. Let's say the restrictions on UBC law school's tution was lifted and UBC starts charging a tution fee similar to that of Toronto schools. What would it spend the additional revenue on?

One of the main arguments UofT uses to justify it's exorbitant fees is it's necessity to retain world-class faculty who would earn hefty salaries if they were practcing lawyers. Is that a valid justification? How is UBC able to retain it's faculty?

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24 minutes ago, jjbean said:

Wait until OP sees McGill's tuition rates.... 

I know :)I started learning French just so I could apply Mcgill but quickly realized that it will be very hard for me to develop a French proficiency that the law school admissions would require.

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7 hours ago, nnnnnnn said:

Thanks for the reposnse. Let's say the restrictions on UBC law school's tution was lifted and UBC starts charging a tution fee similar to that of Toronto schools. What would it spend the additional revenue on?

One of the main arguments UofT uses to justify it's exorbitant fees is it's necessity to retain world-class faculty who would earn hefty salaries if they were practcing lawyers. Is that a valid justification? How is UBC able to retain it's faculty?

There are plenty of very qualified professors who can teach the basics of law and who are willing to do so for $150k per year rather than $300k (in fact, many practitioners will do it for a nominal fee). There is no justification for UofT's outrageous tuition fees.

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3 hours ago, jjbean said:

 There is no justification for UofT's outrageous tuition fees.

Indeed, I'd say you could easily reverse the main question; how do Toronto schools maintain their standard of applicant when they can get a fantastic education at 1/3-1/4 the cost?

 

(The answer seemingly being that a lot of students would rather live in Toronto for 3 years than look at mountains during winters without snow in the city. Their choice, I guess)

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11 hours ago, lookingaround said:

Indeed, I'd say you could easily reverse the main question; how do Toronto schools maintain their standard of applicant when they can get a fantastic education at 1/3-1/4 the cost?

 

(The answer seemingly being that a lot of students would rather live in Toronto for 3 years than look at mountains during winters without snow in the city. Their choice, I guess)

I'd imagine that being closer to the market they wish to practice in, proximity to family, and Vancouver's outrageous rental market are also factors 

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18 minutes ago, ranchonpizza said:

I'd imagine that being closer to the market they wish to practice in, proximity to family, and Vancouver's outrageous rental market are also factors 

I'm sure they are. Hence "a lot of students would rather live in Toronto". (Edit to add: Not that Toronto's outrageous rental market has anything to boast about on that front ;))

Edited by lookingaround
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On 2/3/2019 at 2:58 PM, nnnnnnn said:

I know :)I started learning French just so I could apply Mcgill but quickly realized that it will be very hard for me to develop a French proficiency that the law school admissions would require.

LOL I think there are better reasons to become fluent in another language than just saving on tuition ;)

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On 2/4/2019 at 1:53 PM, ranchonpizza said:

I'd imagine that being closer to the market they wish to practice in, proximity to family, and Vancouver's outrageous rental market are also factors 

Is Vancouver's rental market any more outrageous than Toronto? 

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Though I open to letting my law school experience mold my legal interests,  would I have enough freedom and opportunities to choose my area of specialization at UBC. I am an electronics engineer and I have been working in the semiconductor industry for 10 years. I believe I might be able to use my pre-law work experience in the field of IP law. Does UBC  provide a good footing for students trying to enter the field? I don't see a lot of courses catering to patent law or innovations.

 

I am also interested working with a Professor and pursue some form of research during my time in the law school. How realistic is my plan to pursue research? 

Edited by nnnnnnn

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On 2/3/2019 at 8:36 PM, jjbean said:

There are plenty of very qualified professors who can teach the basics of law and who are willing to do so for $150k per year rather than $300k (in fact, many practitioners will do it for a nominal fee). There is no justification for UofT's outrageous tuition fees.

I'm not necessarily defending UofT salaries, but I will say that you can't just hire a bunch of adjuncts "for a nominal fee" and call it a day.  You actually need people to teach core courses that you can't always reliably find adjuncts to teach.  It is difficult, for example, to find a practitioner who can commit to teaching crim twice per week for an entire year in the middle of the day, given that it would interfere with their day job.  You also need full time faculty members to do all of the committee work...supervise moots, deal with academic appeals, admissions, supervise journal students, etc., etc., etc.  A school's reputation is also based, in large part, on research, which comes from the faculty.  I don't think that a school that was comprised primarily of a bunch of adjuncts would have a great reputation.

That being said, yes, you apparently can find people to work at UBC for $150K a year, but this is definitely WAY below market compared to other law faculties (not just UofT) when you account for the cost of living.

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